In the early days of the pandemic, Halkitis, the dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health was handpicked by the Murphy administration — along with his colleague Brian Strom, the chancellor of the Rutgers School of Biomedical and Health Sciences — to lead the effort to trace the spread of the virus.
In the months since, Halkitis has become one of the leading sources of information about the pandemic and the efforts to bring it to an end. In media appearances, he calmly presents facts and data on what government officials and individual residents should be doing to smother the outbreak.
In fact, outlets outside of New Jersey also seek his counsel on the latest news. And as the debate over whether to provide boosters shots heat up, Halkitis will become even more in demand. “It’s not a supply issue. There’s plenty of vaccine out there,” he said recently. “We’re beyond the point where we’re reaching for immunity in this country.”
Halkitis is also not afraid to wade into controversial subjects. For example, he’s clear on the issue of requiring vaccinations in public places. “What I think is the right thing” for “entry into any enclosed venue, to require proof of vaccination. That is just good public health,” he told NJBIZ. “In a civil society, when you agree to be part of a society, you give up certain things in order to establish the well-being of the whole.”